My Thoughts On Hard Drives for HTPC and Storage - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 70 Old 02-23-2013, 07:29 PM - Thread Starter
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Been wanting to get this off my chest for a while.

I posted this over at anandtech a few weeks ago.
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Just to expand my thought process a little more...

I don't think you can make generalized statements anymore about the reliability of a particular brand of hard drives or even a particular model of hard drive within that brand. I have tried all sorts of different drives (Samsung F4, EARS, EARX, EADS, Reds, Blacks, etc) and all seem to have different characteristics and even different number of platters within a particular model. I have had some that were noisier than the others as well --- again sometimes within a particular model.

The reason for this is simple: All the hard drive manufacturers change components and firmware frequently. So while one particular "run", "lot" or "batch" may be particularly unreliable and problematic others will be excellent. (As an aside I also don't subscribe to the purchasing of drives from different "lots" theory as I think this increases your chance of getting one of these problematic drives). So I think unless you can test hundreds or even thousands of drives and know what is inside each drive (and what firmware they are running) you really cannot make a generalized statement at all. A normal consumer just doesn't have the sample size to make a statistically significant conclusion. This is complicated by the fact that by time these drives will have failed (1-3 years in most cases for what I think is deemed an "early failure") they are often not relevant to current options and no longer available for purchase.

So you have to weigh all of these things into consideration when purchasing drives or considering what to use. I have had excellent luck with Green drives but haven't had bad luck with Red or Black drives either.

I don't see the point of Black drives for storage so they are out for me (I use an SSD for my OS) unless they are a great value, quiet and a model that is energy efficient.

I love Green drives and Red drives (5400 RPM) for storage especially for HTPC and HTPC software based servers as I think they are usually the best bang for the buck. I would gladly purchase a red drive for the extra warranty alone but probably would only spend an extra $10 or so.

That's my $.02.

Addendum: I also am not opposed to the Seagate 3TB drives as they are excellent for the money even though they are a 7200RPM (they are relatively quiet. I have used many)

Feel free to disagree. Agree. Discuss.
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post #2 of 70 Old 02-23-2013, 07:51 PM
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I was running four WD greens and had a Seagate 2TB 7,200 that I pulled from an enclosure that was on sale ($65 during the post flood high prices). The Seagate seemed no louder than the WD Greens. Last week I upgraded my server storage and was looking to get 3TB Reds, but the price of the Seagate 7,200 3TB was ~$35 less. I went with the Seagates since the benefits of the Reds were mainly for NAS and not JBOD FlexRAID (other than the warranty). So far so good on the Seagates. The old WD greens have been re-purposed to work discs and recorded TV live storage.

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post #3 of 70 Old 02-23-2013, 08:23 PM
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I'm running mostly 2TB EARS, EARX, and EADS drives in my file 16TB server hosting to my HTPC's. I have had excellent luck with them thus far. My server stays up 24/7 and has been running solid for several years. Of the 5 seagate drives I had, I'm down to the last 2 and they're about on their last leg, sometimes making a little bit of the dreaded dolphin squeak noise.
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post #4 of 70 Old 02-23-2013, 09:18 PM
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For 3.5" drives I'm currently using a mix of WD, Seagate, and HGST drives.

I buy what is ty

A GF that bought me a PS3 and a HD-A2? I'm a lucky man!
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post #5 of 70 Old 02-23-2013, 09:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MrZoid View Post

For 3.5" drives I'm currently using a mix of WD, Seagate, and HGST drives.

I buy what is the best deal for that time. For storing/streaming platter spin speed makes no real difference, but the HBA can make all the difference.

Grr... no edit on tapatalk.

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post #6 of 70 Old 02-23-2013, 11:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by assassin View Post

Been wanting to get this off my chest for a while.

I posted this over at anandtech a few weeks ago.
Addendum: I also am not opposed to the Seagate 3TB drives as they are excellent for the money even though they are a 7200RPM (they are relatively quiet. I have used many)

Feel free to disagree. Agree. Discuss.

I assume that the drives I buy will fail, so I buy drives solely based on how easy the RMA process is. Seagate wins this one for me, $10.00 gets you a replacement to your door in two days, plus a return label for the failed drive. Takes about 5 minutes to process the RMA once you have a Seagate account setup.

Looky here!
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post #7 of 70 Old 02-24-2013, 07:10 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by robnix View Post

I assume that the drives I buy will fail, so I buy drives solely based on how easy the RMA process is. Seagate wins this one for me, $10.00 gets you a replacement to your door in two days, plus a return label for the failed drive. Takes about 5 minutes to process the RMA once you have a Seagate account setup.

I have RMA hitachi and WD without issues too. None are bad at RMA.

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post #8 of 70 Old 02-24-2013, 08:50 AM
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@ Asassin - I agree with you 100%

It's funny because I made this same point and argument about SSD's (in defense of OCZ and against the propagandized Crucial Bias) a year ago and battled with you on many occasions. I felt exactly how you do about that issue, and my feelings are the same on mechanical HDD's.

I believe there is simply too much variety and quick paced MFG change on modern PC hardware to allow the consumer with such limited sample size to accurately predict or assess product reliability in any meaningful accurate way. The reality is you could buy the worst reliable brand statistically speaking and it would live almost forever, or you could buy the more reliable brand/model statistically and it could die almost immediately. Those who pretend they can control such, or influence such are clearly fools themselves that are clearly wrong. Realty is that by the time word on the street leaks out and collects momentum the product line has changed and it's unreasonable to think that your results will be the same.

I'd point to the arguments I made a year ago as proof. A year ago OCZ was bashed heavily for reliability (they basically were the sole beta test program for Sandforce 22xx SSD controllers that had some growing pains.) but today it's pretty evident that they have improved. Vertex4 and Vector lines have very good reliability so far and data even suggests the VERTEX3 line has improved quite significantly. My point was always it's unreasonable to think 6 months or 12 months later a consumer would have the same experience.

WD drives are no different. There has been good and bad both. I've owned 7 total Green drives. 2TB and 3TB both EARS and EARX/Z. Without a doubt they are as a product line the least reliable drives I have ever owned. I am near 100% on RMA. I have only a single 2TB green that is original and never swapped out.
But I don't think every green drive is crap or that someone buying one today would be likely to have my experiences. I'm open to the idea my case is bad luck.

I do believe that GREEN WD drives make a pretty good choice for simple storage inside a traditional desktop or HTPC environment. That is what they are recommended and designed for by WD. They are 5400rpm, run cool and quiet and have a nice energy profile. That is the advantage and that advantage lends itself well to HTPC or basic desktop applications. The disadvantage is they are slower and have lower performance ( an acceptable advantage in many cases depending on intended usage) and also they have less warranty and some long term endurance concerns, particularly in 24/7 server/NAS/ and RAID applications that they are not recommended for.

So I think aside from NAS / SERVER/ RAID applications, or set ups that employ >5 HDD's WD GREEN drives are probaly a great choice provided they have a good price. The tough part today is RED offers a longer warranty, better reliability due to improved anti shock and vibration features and lack of aggressive head parking features, and typically sell for the same prices. I'm with you... for the same price or even just $10 more I think the RED is a better choice for the longer warranty alone. I'd take the warranty for $10 or less but I would not pay more than $10 for it. I'd probably go $20 more if my set up was a set up that RED was recommended for and GREEN was recomended against. For $25 or more I'd probably still roll the dice with GREEN for the $$ savings.

Personally I view GREEN drives as a dated product that could be improved. It's not 2010 anymore. The advantage they once had about heat/energy/noise has mostly evaporated. It's not like they really hold any significant advantage at that in todays HDD landscape. The RED line often tests out with both better performance and better energy profile. They have equally good heat, noise and energy characteristics. Even other MFG like Toshiba, Hitachi, Seagate have significantly improved their newest next generation lines. The 4TB seagate 5400rpm drives appear to be gaining momentum and considering you can buy a 4TB 5400 RPM Seagate drive for $150 they hold an advantage in price. They do use more energy than a GREEN drive (I think) but certainly less than 2 Green drives. After all they do hold 4TB versus 2TB so it's not a fair comparison.

My favorite drive right now is the 7200.14 3TB Seagates. They are $40 per GB (cheapest around) and offer increased performance at the same time. They are perfectly acceptable in heat and noise and energy being a next generation drive. They are a better choice in RAID, NAS or Server Set ups IMO. But I just installed a 3TB EARX WD green in my brother's MILO 03 case today so I guess I am not that biased tongue.gif

I think your original comments ring true and that all HDD's are good and bad- and there is no sense to be made from any of it at the consumer level. It's as much luck as anything else. Consumers should looks at the features that are important to them and decide based on value. I'm not sure there is any "bad" products on the market today. I just think the GREEN drives are 2010 and the reality is they don't really have as much advantage as they used to have. But they were a good product in 2010, so it's reasonable to think they are a decent product in 2013.

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post #9 of 70 Old 02-24-2013, 10:10 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mfusick View Post

My favorite drive right now is the 7200.14 3TB Seagates. They are $40 per GB (cheapest around) and offer increased performance at the same time.
You are getting ripped off!!! eek.gif It would be cheaper to build your server out of Samsung 840 Pro SSDs.

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post #10 of 70 Old 02-24-2013, 12:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bryansj View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mfusick View Post

My favorite drive right now is the 7200.14 3TB Seagates. They are $40 per GB (cheapest around) and offer increased performance at the same time.
You are getting ripped off!!! eek.gif It would be cheaper to build your server out of Samsung 840 Pro SSDs.

Damn. I should have done that ! biggrin.gif

I can only imagine. Accept my LAN probably only does 110MB/sec consistently mad.gif

TB not GB.

I meant $40 per TB. Which is about the level I consider "good" value. I see the 4TB is now $149 but it's 5400rpm and kinda a slower energy pig. I prefer the 3TB 7200.14 as my choice.

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post #11 of 70 Old 02-24-2013, 12:18 PM
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My WHS2011 server is a collection of HDDs that have evolved over the years:

WD 1.5TB WD15EADS
Seagate 2TB ST32000641AS
Seagate 1TB ST31000528AS
Samsung 2TB HD204UI
Samsung 2TB HD204UI

They've all performed fine and according the SMART data rate in fitness/performance at least 90%.

I have 2 x Seagate 3TB waiting in the wings for me to get off my rear and replace the 1.5TB and 1TB drives. At that time I want to install FlexRAID pooling/parity. I have to sort out some backups before I do that however. Hence it never getting done.

Whatever bias I used to have towards certain brands has long disappeared.

There's really only one brand of anything I really hate and that I consider the bane of my existence but it's not an HDD so I won't mention it here.

 

 

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post #12 of 70 Old 02-24-2013, 12:40 PM
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I was just reading reviews on this WD Red drive. 2 out of 3 are defective? That's a staggering high number.
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post #13 of 70 Old 02-24-2013, 12:46 PM
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people only post reviews on products that are defective. They usually post it when trying to set up the RMA , already on the website, and in an angry state.

2 out of 3 reviews means about 2 out of 100 in real life.

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post #14 of 70 Old 02-24-2013, 01:04 PM
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Makes sense..
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post #15 of 70 Old 02-24-2013, 01:20 PM
 
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I use a mix of drives, but I wanted to post something that just happened to me when I installed my first 4TB drives.

I have an old machine, it is a Core2Duo E7200 chip in an Asus P5Q-E motherboard. It is all I need and it has a LOT SATA ports (8 on the mobo). I also use an add in PCI-e card which gives me two more SATA ports. The motherboard is only SATA 2, but the add in card is SATA 3. I just purchased two Seagate Backup Plus 4TB external drives and cracked them open to get the drives out (ST4000DM000); they were on sale from the Buy.com ebay page for only $149 each (now $186 I think). When I connected them to a SATA 2 port, they would appear and disappear at random times - and even went as far as to fail the SMART and Basic tests from SeaTools. I thought they were both defective until something inside made me test one of them using the add in card. They both work perfectly on it, passing all tests with ease.

It appears the days of backwards compatibility with SATA 2 are ending wrt the massive sized drives. Just a heads up.
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post #16 of 70 Old 02-24-2013, 01:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mfusick View Post

people only post reviews on products that are defective. They usually post it when trying to set up the RMA , already on the website, and in an angry state.

2 out of 3 reviews means about 2 out of 100 in real life.

Alas, HD reviews tend to fall into two groups

A) installed it, it works, so far so good.

B) it died after x months. POS! Stay away from seagate/wd/hitachi/samsung.
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post #17 of 70 Old 02-24-2013, 03:14 PM
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True^

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post #18 of 70 Old 02-25-2013, 10:23 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by assassin View Post

Addendum: I also am not opposed to the Seagate 3TB drives as they are excellent for the money even though they are a 7200RPM (they are relatively quiet. I have used many)

I bought seagates since they were cheap, but my only complaint with them would be they noise they make when spinning up. It's noticeablely louder than my other drives

Some forum users have been reporting success in eliminating this chirp by upgrading to a recently released CC4H firmware

Has anyone here used this yet?

http://knowledge.seagate.com/articles/en_US/FAQ/223651en
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post #19 of 70 Old 02-25-2013, 10:50 AM
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Mine are not loud at all. I sit in the same room as my server.

The green drives actually click once in a while which I notice much easier in contrast. I believe the clicking on my GREEN drives is head parking and some also claim that can be removed with an firmware change that I have not done.

Just heads up - it is sometimes better to disable SMART data since it allows drives to spin down.

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post #20 of 70 Old 02-25-2013, 11:07 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mfusick View Post

Just heads up - it is sometimes better to disable SMART data since it allows drives to spin down.

I also sit in the same room as my server, and it is also my go-to powerhouse for everything

SMART suggestion is a good idea, but flexraid's "skip if drive is idle" checkbox has been working nicely.

I only hear them spin up when I start playback, and I still know which drives have which movies. biggrin.gif I should keep more important things in my memory banks, but alas I retain this type of useless knowledge. The seagates house the majority, and only some HGST 4TB craigslist drives are used for TV, pictures, music, and parity. There is an audible chirp during spin up for all movie playback that is non-existent for tv show playback. After they've been spun down there is a noticeable pause before playback, so I know they are all spinning down according to my power mgmt settings.

I'll probably give the firmware a shot. I'm too impatient otherwise. Plus I can apply it individually, then recover the drive in flexraid if it corrupts the drive data biggrin.gif
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post #21 of 70 Old 02-25-2013, 11:08 AM
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In 11 years of owning my own computer I've never had any of the 11 drives I've owned fail.

Is it really that common to have happen?

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post #22 of 70 Old 02-25-2013, 11:29 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pittsoccer33 View Post

In 11 years of owning my own computer I've never had any of the 11 drives I've owned fail.

Is it really that common to have happen?

I've only had a flash drive fail (Best Buy Geed Squad drive that was running ubuntu for about a month)

The old PATA drives from Aptiva and gateway desktops nor the emachine laptop I've owned in the past never failed. They aren't of much use to me now, but they still work

Several CD/DVD drives were the same way

I don't know how common it is, but I think the more you know about diskpart or a live gparted cd, the less roadblocks you'll ever have with HDDs
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post #23 of 70 Old 02-25-2013, 03:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dark_Slayer View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mfusick View Post

Just heads up - it is sometimes better to disable SMART data since it allows drives to spin down.

I also sit in the same room as my server, and it is also my go-to powerhouse for everything

SMART suggestion is a good idea, but flexraid's "skip if drive is idle" checkbox has been working nicely.

I only hear them spin up when I start playback, and I still know which drives have which movies. biggrin.gif I should keep more important things in my memory banks, but alas I retain this type of useless knowledge. The seagates house the majority, and only some HGST 4TB craigslist drives are used for TV, pictures, music, and parity. There is an audible chirp during spin up for all movie playback that is non-existent for tv show playback. After they've been spun down there is a noticeable pause before playback, so I know they are all spinning down according to my power mgmt settings.

I'll probably give the firmware a shot. I'm too impatient otherwise. Plus I can apply it individually, then recover the drive in flexraid if it corrupts the drive data biggrin.gif

I read that if you have SMART enables it probes your drives and never lets them rest... wasting more energy.

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post #24 of 70 Old 02-25-2013, 03:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dark_Slayer View Post

...

The old PATA drives from Aptiva and gateway desktops nor the emachine laptop I've owned in the past never failed. They aren't of much use to me now, but they still work

...

Many of these PATA SSDs made a few years ago uses single-level-cell designs, which are more robust than MLC (multi-level-cell), especialy for erase cycle endurance. I used these in my fleet of Thinkpad X41s.
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post #25 of 70 Old 03-04-2013, 11:34 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dksc318 View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dark_Slayer View Post

...

The old PATA drives from Aptiva and gateway desktops nor the emachine laptop I've owned in the past never failed. They aren't of much use to me now, but they still work

...

Many of these PATA SSDs made a few years ago uses single-level-cell designs, which are more robust than MLC (multi-level-cell), especialy for erase cycle endurance. I used these in my fleet of Thinkpad X41s.

Samsung840 smile.gif.

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post #26 of 70 Old 03-05-2013, 06:03 AM
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Where are you finding the Seagate 4TB 5400rpm drives for 150? I can't seem to find that price anywhere...
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post #27 of 70 Old 03-05-2013, 06:17 AM
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Where are you finding the Seagate 4TB 5400rpm drives for 150? I can't seem to find that price anywhere...

It was a sticky at top of the deals forum all last week.

Costco has $159 no rebates if its gone.

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post #28 of 70 Old 03-05-2013, 06:44 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pittsoccer33 View Post

In 11 years of owning my own computer I've never had any of the 11 drives I've owned fail.

Is it really that common to have happen?

My first PC was an IBM Aptiva in 1996 with a pentium 133, 16mb of RAM, an onboard ATI gpu, and a 2GB western digital HDD, and a 33.6k modem. I upgraded it over time to a pentium 166mhz, 32mb of RAM, and added a pair of 3DFX addon cards to it, as well as a v.90 US Robotics "gaming" modem. I had MSN for my dialup after being sick of Juno's issues.

Since that point, I used strictly WD HDD's - ata/33, ata/66, ata/100, ata/133, sata, sata2, and now sata3. Never in 6 9 different rigs have I had a HDD fail (and I used that 2gb drive until i ran out of space to connect it). I avoided seagate for years because they were villified for issues, and Maxtor drives back in the day failed like crazy and were louder than sin. (buy once, cry once paid off here)

I've just been lucky I guess, but recently started branching out to other brands (my gaming rig has 4 OCZ vertex SSD's from V2 thru v4, as well as 2 WD RE3 drives, a sata3 velociraptor, and a 2TB hitachi). My HTPC/Media server is going to have 2 Vertex4 SSD's, 5 Hitachi's and 5 Seagates..not a single WD HDD - mostly because the cost still hasn't come back down to where I would consider them a bargain, no matter how much luck I've had with them in the past.
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post #29 of 70 Old 03-05-2013, 07:34 AM
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I too have used many drives over the years.

Laptop typically got the Seagate or WD 7200rpm drives. Now I have an Intel 520 SSD I won on a forum and a 750GB secondary Seagate drive.

I was upgrading the HTPC which only had 2 2TB Samsung F4s. I was devastated when they stopped making the F4s. I then stopped being so dramatic, researched, and started shopping around, looking at WD, SGT and HGST. Also got Flexraid, yet to be installed. New attitude: deal with problems IF and when they happen.


My final tally on the HTPC:

Boot: Intel G2 160GB SSD
Temp: Seagate 250GB laptop drive.
DRU1: Samsung 500GB
DRU2: Samsung 500GB
DRU3: Samsung F4 2TB
DRU4: Samsung F4 2TB
DRU5: Seagate 3TB
DRU6: Seagate 3TB
DRU7: --- (will get another 3TB when needed)
PPU1: Seagate 3TB

I am impressed how cool the 3TB Seagates are compared to the F4. I also have the Define R4 so dont hear much clicking if there are any. I will be setting up Flexraid for the first time this weekend.

I could have gone either way, but at the time the Seagates were a little cheaper than the Greens. Some reviews may have also swayed me in that direction a little.

note: the post above is my opinion. as such, when reading any recommendations from me, please do you research and seek out other recommendations and make up your own mind on your next course of action. i mean, most reasonable adults should know that, but it seems this should be stated anyways.
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post #30 of 70 Old 03-05-2013, 08:43 AM
 
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I have had two 1TB WD Green drives fail. I have received multiple DOA hard drives.
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